Derek Jeter eager to earn back trust of long-suffering Marlins fans
The Miami Marlins have failed to put a winning product on the field during Derek Jeter’s tenure, not even close. With not much money committed to payroll — only $27 million on the books at this point — and plenty of holes to fill, the Marlins chief executive officer and part owner nevertheless indicated the team will be cautious this offseason.
Interestingly, Jeter characterized the Marlins’ upcoming approach to free agency as a “juggling act.”
Coming off a 57-105 campaign, Jeter went on to say 2020 is “going to be a challenging year” for the Marlins as the team balances bringing in talent without blocking the paths to the big leagues for their top prospects.
More than anything, the Marlins are confronted with the difficult task of showing the team’s long-suffering fans that better days are ahead.
“It takes a while to earn people’s trust and it seems like we’ve been here a lot longer than just over two years, but it takes a little time,” Jeter told David Wilson of the Miami Herald. “But from everything that we’ve heard, people are starting to trust us and they’re starting to come out here and support this organization, and we still have a lot of work to do.”
It may take a winner to persuade the team’s fans to buy in. After all, the Marlins have jettisoned superstars Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna in recent seasons, and fans have shown their displeasure at the ticket office.
Low attendance at Marlins Park and fan apathy obviously have plagued the Marlins long before Jeter took the reins of the organization. That said, it was painfully evident last season, as attendance figures were downright putrid.
The Marlins averaged only 10,016 fans at home ballgames in 2019, over 4,500 fewer than the second-worst team, the Tampa Bay Rays.
That said, Jeter stressed neither he nor other members of the front office will panic or change course.
“We have our plan,” Jeter said. “We’re going to stick to our plan, preach patience — don’t have much — but it’s our job to get better and improve, year in and year out.”